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G3 Alpinist Review

Alpinist
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Price:  $185 List | $122.82 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Good glide, packable, secure tip and tail clips, easy to use, included cutting/trimming tool, lightest pair of skins in review.
Cons:  Average grip, unreliable glue.
Manufacturer:   G3
By David Reichel ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 4, 2016
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54
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 4
  • Glide - 25% 7
  • Grip - 25% 5
  • Ease of use - 15% 7
  • Attachment System - 15% 6
  • Glue Icing Glop - 20% 2

The Skinny

There is much to like about the G3 Alpinist skin. Like the Jones Nomad, it is more balanced between gripping and gliding than the Voile or G3 High Traction. This company did a nice job finding a pragmatic compromise between these two qualities and this model (along with the High Traction), boasts innovative tip and tail attachments. At 636 g per pair, they are the lightest pair of skins in our review and pack down smaller than the Voile Skins with Tail Clips or High Traction. Unfortunately, significant issues with the glue ultimately torpedoed this model in our review. These issues were most severe on the High Traction skins, but also were presented on this contender. This glue issue decreased this model's scores significantly in the glue metric, but also knocked the scores down across the board as well.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Skin manufacturing has not seen much innovation in terms of design. Splitboarders have been psyched to finally get tail clips readily available on skins (which were common on backcountry skiing climbing skins years earlier). G3 deserves credit for bringing new ideas to the splitboard skin market with their tip and tail clips and perhaps most importantly for marketing this model to splitboarders.

Performance Comparison


Grip


We found to this model to have fine grip. It wasn't as extraordinary as the G3 High Traction or Voile skins, but it was comparable to the Jones Nomad, our Top Pick Award winner. With reasonably good technique and appropriate skin track setting, the grip on these skins is plenty adequate.

Glide


These skins glide great. Again, we found them to be on par with the Jones Nomad (perhaps with a touch less glide), and much superior than the High Traction and Voile skins. Glide is especially valuable on longer tours with lower angle approaches and the ability to slide your splitski forward further with less energy yields significant payoffs in terms of more distance covered, more quickly, with less effort expended.

Ease of Use


These skins ship with a very nice skin cutting/trimming tool. It makes it much simpler to trim the skins so you can get them out on the slopes faster. For beginner skinners, trimming your first set of skins to the width of your splitboard can be intimidating and this tool reduces the fear factor. At 636 g for a pair, these skins are the lightest pair in our review. The Jones Nomad skins weigh 810 g per pair, while the Alpinist High Traction weigh 684 g, with the Voile Skins weighing in at 730 g per pair. These skins pack down fairly small.

Attachment System


The tip and tail attachments on both G3 skins really stand out, as they secure the skins to the board well. Creating a strong connection is probably the most important function of tip and tail connectors. On the flip side, the tail connector can be a little tough to manipulate on and off. This is especially true when the tail clip is adjusted so that the fit is relatively tight. As we experienced issues with the glue sticking, we experimented with increasing the tension to try and maintain skin to board contact. This wasn't very helpful with the glue issue and created challenges attaching and removing the skins, especially for some of our smaller (and less strong reviewers).

Glue and Glop


Glue integrity was a big disappointment with both pairs of skins from this company in our review. For the first month of our review, the glue was great. It adhered to the ski base solidly and handled the removing and reattaching of multiple lap days perfectly. Somewhere around month two, we began to experience failure issues with the glue. These problems (especially on the High Traction skins) were so bad that we struggled to squeeze in a single lap before large amounts of snow squeezed in between the skin and the ski base. Well aware of these issues, we connected the skins carefully and pressed them on firmly to try and improve the skin connection to the ski Unfortunately, this was insufficient and we were not able to fix the issue.
This company has been around for many years and their skins generally earn strong reviews. Several splitboarders in our review team own older model skins of the same brand and have not experienced these issues. Without any inside info, we suspect that there were some issues with the glue integrity on this year's G3 splitboard skins. Hopefully this will be fixed in the future, as this company appears to be investing time and resources in order to innovative products. This competitor handled glop, or snow sticking to the fur, about average when compared to other skins in our review.

Best Applications


The Alpinist skins are well named. If your splitboard aspirations involve bigger mountains and longer more complex tours, the balance between grip and glide found on these skins makes sense.

Value


At $185, this model ties with the Voile Skins with Tail Clip, our Editors' Choice Award-winning splitboard skins, for the lowest price. During the first month of our testing, we would have rated these as excellent value due to their high level of performance and low cost. Unfortunately, due to the durability concerns around the glue, we are forced to knock them down in our ratings. For this price, consumers should expect several years of performance and the durability issues we experienced make that seem unlikely.

Conclusion


These skins have significant promise, but glue durability concerns trump their positive qualities. Hopefully, the company will address the glue issues and build on the many positive attributes of these skins. The balance achieved between grip and glide on these skins was excellent and their tip and tail attachment system is innovative and very secure. We will be tempted to give these skins another shot in the future.


David Reichel